|Poster designed by Sydne Maisonville, age 9.|
After my family and I left the station, we were en route to Great Falls, Montana, USA, where I am originally from, for a memorial service for one of my old friends. It was a bittersweet day. While I know it may seem to have little to do with our mission here for Home of Hope, I wanted to share a little bit of my experience here as it really impacted me.
I had heard about my friend's passing on Friday, January 11th. It was the birthday of my former Sunday School teacher, who had also passed, and I had been taking the day to remember her. The news of my friend's death threw me for a loop and I immediately sank into overwhelming grief. I began looking back at all of the memories I had of him. The more I thought, the more I cried and at one point, I almost felt as though the part of my life that included him was also gone. It was very painful and I spent the next several days trying to work through my grief and focus on our planning for our mission trip.
When my husband and I arrived at the chapel for my friend's celebration of life, we did not expect a Christian service. My friend was an amazingly eclectic person, but not one that I had remembered subscribing to one religion. We were pleasantly surprised when his cousin, who led the service, began to speak. He was a Christian and related to the Lord many times in his speech. It was a comfort to our hearts.
Here is where I began to see the correlation between my friend's passing, or rather his life, and our work with Home of Hope. My friend had a big heart. He saw no race, no gender, no life circumstances. He did not seek out the richest, the most beautiful, or the most perfect people. He loved genuinely and with his whole heart. He looked not at the outside, but to the soul.
My friend's cousin so gently pointed out that there was once another man on this earth who did the same. A man who sat with prostitutes, visited the homes of the tax collectors, and beckoned even the smallest of the small to come unto Him. He is our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
No, I do not compare Jesus to a mortal man; rather, I see how we as Christians can embody His goodness. How we should strive to take on His character more everyday.
I lost a friend; but, I gained the Godly eye salve to see what I could be...what we all can be. God has used this experience to change my heart, to open it and to let His love radiate through me. I do not need to look back with sorrow, but rather look forward with joy in knowing that God can use me and you to share His love with the world. It doesn't have to be a large production. It doesn't have to be difficult. All our Lord is asking is for us to open our hearts to those in need. They could be our neighbors or they could be worlds away in Africa. It all begins with a smile, a cup of coffee, or a listening ear.
Thank you again for your support of our journey. God bless you all!